Gartner: Shared-Services Can Cut Enterprise Content Management Costs

According to a new report from Gartner, organizations can cut their enterprise content management (ECM) costs by 10 percent to 20 percent by moving to a shared services model. The shared services approach is a model in which an enterprise purchases ECM functions centrally and governs the types of services offered, while granting users a degree of ownership. The report, "Use Shared Services to Control Enterprise Content Management Costs," states that the organization can offer the functions themselves or contract with a cloud-based service provider.

"Enterprises have long struggled with multiple ECM deployments which have, in turn, created information silos and caused enterprises to pay for separate sets of software licenses, maintenance and support skills for too many ECM vendors," said Mark Gilbert, research vice president at Gartner. "The troubled economy has forced many IT organizations to cut ECM costs, but traditional approaches to consolidating are slow, complex, and costly. The shared services--or ECM as a service--approach promises at least a partial solution."

Gilbert said the benefits of shared services include economies of scale, reuse of infrastructure, interoperability across the enterprise, speed of deployment, information sharing, and improved credibility for the IT organization among users and managers.

He also pointed out that the shared service approach has limitations, including an inability to integrate existing information silos or reduce expense for advanced ECM functions needed by individual departments.

The research company said shared services make sense if planners can identify basic functions that almost every department uses or needs--for example, secure repository services and content-centric workflows.

Gartner advised the IT organization and functional units to work together to implement shared services. It has identified five broad steps for implementation:

  1. Assess whether shared services make sense;
  2. Standardize on a single ECM product or vendor platform;
  3. Define packages of ECM functions, based on the specific needs of departments and the potential user base;
  4. Establish a governance model for service and support; and
  5. Form a competency center for ECM.

Additional details can be found here.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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